Mariya Osipova

Mariya Osipova (Belarusian: Марыя Барысаўна Осіпава, Russian: Мария Борисовна Осипова; 27 December 1908 – 5 February 1999) was the Soviet partisan who provided Yelena Mazanik with the bomb she used to kill Wilhelm Kube, a high-ranking SS officer and the General-Kommissar of Nazi-occupied Belarus. For doing so Osipova and her co-conspirators were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on 29 October 1943.[1]

Mariya Borisovna Osipova
Мария Борисовна Осипова
Mariya Borisovna Osipova.jpg
Mariya Borisovna Sokovtsova

27 December 1908
Serkavitsy, Mogilev Governorate, Russian Empire
(present-day Vitebsk region of Belarus)
Died5 February 1999 (aged 90)
Nationality Soviet Union
AwardsHero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin
Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class

Early lifeEdit

Osipova was born to a Belarusian peasant family in Serkavitsy, in the Mogilev Governorate of the Russian Empire. She started working at a glass factory at the age of 13 and was the chairman of her young pioneer chapter. In 1924 she met her husband, Yakov Osipov, while she was delegate to the 6th Komsomol Congress. Later she married and changed her surname from Sokovtsova to Osipova. In 1928 she became a member of the Communist Party and graduated from the Agricultural School of Minsk in 1935. She then went on to attend law school, which she graduated from in 1940 before serving at the Supreme Court of the Belarussian SSR. She left her job at the Supreme Court to work as an assistant at a law practice in May 1941, just a few weeks before the start of the war.[2][3]

World War IIEdit

Early resistance activitiesEdit

Shortly after German forces took over Minsk, Osipova worked with a teacher at the law school where she had previously studied to organize a resistance movement that would be headquartered at the school. The partisan group started off with 14 members, but by 1943 the organization had 50 active members. Initially the organization printed anti-Axis leaflets, provided hiding for the city's Jews facing persecution, and helped Soviet prisoners of war escape from German custody. After the group contacted a partisan detachment in 1941, the organization began conducting reconnaissance and sabotage missions against the German military. By late 1941 the group was in communication with the Communist Party of Byelorussia. Since then, Osipova served as the communication liaison between her unit and several other partisan units including the "Dima" unit commanded by D. Keimakh, the "Mestnyye" unit commanded S. Vaupshasov, the "Dyadi Koli" brigade commanded by N. Nikitin, the "Zheleznyak" brigade commanded by I. Titkov, and the "200th" unit named in honor of K. Rokosovsky. She also wrote for the underground newspaper "Zvezda" that was circulated throughout German-occupied Minsk. The partisans sheltered prisoners of war and Jewish refugees in their attics. On sabotage operations the partisans would steal weapons and medicine from the German military, stockpile them, and provide them to other partisans and refugees as needed. Osipova's pseudonym was Chernaya.[2][3]

Assassination of Wilhelm KubeEdit

Osipova's best known accomplishment as a partisan was the assassination of high-ranking SS official and General-Kommissar of Nazi-occupied Belarus Wilhelm Kube, who oversaw the Minsk Ghetto. In late 1941 the deputy commander of the "Dima" unit tasked Nadezhda Troyan with finding someone who worked inside Kube's house and would be willing to assist in a plot to kill him. Valentina Shchutskoi, who was the sister of Yelena Mazanik, suggested that Mazanik, who worked in Kube's mansion as a maid, would be suitable for the task. Troyan took a while to gain the trust of Mazanik, who was very afraid of betrayal, but after her sister Valentina confirmed the identity of Osipova for her she agreed to try to kill Kube. After explaining the plot and discussing the best methods to do it, it was decided to plant a bomb under Kube's bed. Before Mazanik placed the bomb, Osipova and Troyan left Minsk for the forest controlled by partisans, along with their families and most of Mazanik's family. Osipova gave Mazanik a small magnetic mine which she carried in her purse, having obtained the mine from a partisan unit. The assassination went as planned and after Kube was killed, she, Mazanik, and Troyan were declared Heroes of the Soviet Union.[3][4][5]

Later lifeEdit

After the end of the war Osipova returned to Minsk to participate in the reconstruction of the war-torn city. She later worked in the office of Vasily Kozlov, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Belarussian SSR, and from 1947 to 1963 she was a deputy in the Supreme Soviet of the Belarussian SSR. She had also headed the pardon department of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Belarus and worked to get many members of the Minsk resistance rehabilitated after myths spread that the Minsk resistance was engaged in collaboration with the Nazis. She passed away at the age of 90 on 5 February 1999 and was buried in the Eastern Cemetery of Minsk.[2][3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sakaida, Henry (2012-04-20). Heroines of the Soviet Union 1941–45. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781780966922.
  2. ^ a b c Ufarkin, Nikolai. "Осипова Мария Борисовна". (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  3. ^ a b c d Janina, Cottam (1998). Women in War and Resistance: Selected Biographies of Soviet Women Soldiers. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing/R. Pullins Co. ISBN 1585101605. OCLC 228063546.
  4. ^ Shadov, Ivan (1988). Герой Советского Союза II, Любовь - Яшчук. Moscow: Voenizdat. ISBN 5203005362. OCLC 312615596.
  5. ^ "Yelena Mazanik - Avenger of Belarus". A War to be Won. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2018-05-03.